Have you heard about Ryanair's new "optional" £5 seat charge?

Ryan Air Feature Good old Ryanair. The airline we loved to hate has turned over a new leaf of late, with a shiny new website, customer-friendlier policies like allocated seating and even a slightly nicer attitude from the Chief Exec. But it seems Ryanair are up to their old hidden-charges tricks, with last month’s changes to the online check-in set to make the airline a fortune as we head into holiday season.

From 8 April, passengers who do not wish to pay £5/€5 to select their own (non-priority) seat can now only check in 7 days prior to the flight. On first glance this seems a bit meh, after all, who checks in 30 days before their flight? And if you are popping over to the continent for a weekend break, you probably won’t notice much difference.

However, if you are using a Ryanair flight for a holiday, you might be dismayed to find you are landed with an extra charge. The shiny new website will not let you check-in for your return flight if that is more than 7 days away. So if you are going for a week you are stuffed unless your holiday accommodation comes with a boarding card printer.

Of course, like all Ryanair extra fees, this one isn’t compulsory. If you don’t have access to a printer while away, but you can still check in online before your return, they will instead just charge you £15/€15 to print one for you. If you don’t have internet access, they will charge you £70/€70 to check you in- all per person, per flight. Makes the £5/€5 a seat allocated seating charge seem like a bargain.

Ryanair’s terms and conditions do make reference to a mobile boarding pass, which would, presumably, allow you to check in on your phone and then just wave your phone boarding pass at a reader. However, this is only available to “certain customers” for an additional fee, which is supposed to be specified in its list of fees. Except it isn’t. Glad we’re all about being transparent now lads.

Better make sure you’ve a spare fiver then.


  • Richard
    Tbf I think this kind of pricing policy is good. You can view it as being charged extra for things which are usually standard or you can view it as being able to save money by taking things out of the standard package and not paying for them. Whether or not this is the reality I don't know but the strategy is inherently unfair.
  • ee l.
    I hate Ryanair and Micheal O'Leary with a vengeance - they treat their staff like sh*te - a pal's daughter had to leave due to lack of money after shelling out for training costs and renting her own uniform. Poor girl was in tears. O'Leary meanwhile, talks about staff giving BJs at press conference. Cancer would be too good for him... :(
  • John F.
    Just discovered this as I went to confirm flights and get boarding pass for my Aunty. She is in her eighties and not IT savvy. I am going to have to print her return boarding pass and post it to her, rather do that be held to ransom.
  • Marjory K.
    You can check in both ways before going, just did it!
  • Checkinpal
    Check in Pal has seen a large rise in Ryanair's customers who are confused and unable to check-in online with Ryanair. When we dig a little deeper and see why these passengers are turning to check in pal for help with it soon becomes apparent. Of course it boils down to the new 7 day check-in policy which throws passengers who have become familiar to the old 14 day policy. Although we acknowledge that there is an alternative way to extend the check-in period by purchasing allocated seating, I do feel it's important to recognise that many of the regular seats are been sold at £10 per seat each way. Take for example a family of 4 who required assistance flying to and from Murcia, Spain. They had to pay a whopping £80 in seating arrangement fees with Ryanair. Thankfully Check in pal was able to simply store their travel dates and check them in on their behalf. With an average family taking a break over the summer period for 14 days or more you can guarantee that more and more passengers will be turning to Check in pal for help!
  • Geoff R.
    Correct. Michael O'Leary is the pits. Hope he rots away.
  • D W.
    This restricted return flight check-in is nothing more than blackmail and I for one will not use Ryanair again. They don't even have the decency to inform their potential customers in advance.
  • frank f.
    what a disgrace ryanair are and the twat oleary who runs them are what they have done with boarding passes is nothing short of black mail i hope it costs them a lot more money than it generates he says they are passenger friedley now iwouldnt like to be booked with them if they get unfriendley you try booking a £5 seat they dont offer any its £10 each way surley theres some one at ryanair that can get a grip of this greedy pillock
  • Dave R.
    My daughter and her fiancé who have a two half year old son booked a holiday with Ryanair then tried to print off the boarding passes both ways ! they got the out bound but to come home the only way was to pre book seats @ £10 per person even a two half year old disgusting ! or print off in Spain with a cost of 75 Euros per person ! what a rip of and a con, very shocking for a big international airline !!! Ryanair can stick their flights and holidays up their arse after this holiday, as will tell everyone I know, I will pass this information on to them not to book with Ryanair ever again, I hope they go bust. Very Unhappy Dave Reid.
  • DaveK
    Just booked Manchester to Shannon return for September. Two seniors. After the previous debacle with Ryanir I promised I would never use them again. Three day break to Italy with car parking and car rental suddenly changed to two days-no refunds so cheap long weekend became expensive rushed break. Shannon trip is £56 return for two, basic flight only. No frills, no seat allocation, no hold luggage. Will print out boarding passes seven days prior to flights. Allowance is one 10kg cabin bag and one smaller but reasonable size bag each. After 90 cabin bags have been loaded the rest (including ours no doubt) will go in the hold-no extra charge. Sounds good. What snags am I likely to hit? Cynical me-but with good cause.

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